salomon speedcross 3 womens trail shoe review

wild burro hike Tucson AZ

wild burro hike Tucson AZ

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After 9 years of day hiking and trail running in the Inov-8 Unisex Roclite 268 Trail Running Shoe I decided to try a new shoe. Part of the reason for the switch was my experience hiking in Kaui last summer and feeling like my Inov8s just weren't gripping enough on muddy trails or trails with wet rocks.

I tried so many shoes before settling on the Salomon Speedcross 3 and the decision to buy them was not made easier by the ugly color options.

Now as you know from my banana yellow Pumas and the Reebok dance shoes that I actually wanted over the black ones I got, I am not shy about color so my issues with Salomon have little to do with that and a whole lot more to do with fit and comfort.

Here's what I liked and absolutely hated about these shoes.

What I liked:

1. These shoes have amazing grip. I tested them on steep rocky trails near my home in Tucson AZ and also hiked various trails in Vancouver B.C. and Columbia River Gorge Oregon (pics above) in these and they really work to keep you moving quickly without losing your footing on various types of terrain.

2. The lacing system is awesome. You just pull and tuck into a pocket and go. I've read all kinds of silly complaining about this feature but my experience with it has been positive. All trail shoes should be this easy to lace and should stay laced with laces out of the way. My Inov8s never stayed laced.

3. The water-resistant textile, anti debris mesh and mud guards keeps your feet dry and also keeps sand and dirt as well as cactus stickers out of your shoes which are all things my Inov8 did not do well.

What I hated about these shoes:

1. The lugs are so firm and hard it took weeks of wearing them to train clients in the studio and on quick walks in the sandy wash near our home to break them in. Once I felt they were good to go I wore them on an 6 mile trail and my feet were killing me half way back plus I got blisters on the balls of my foot. This has never happened to me before with Inov8 or Adidas or Saucony trail shoes I've used for hiking.

2. These shoes are not comfortable enough to wear without insoles but my insoles don't fit in them very well and make the shoe feel odd fitting which is something I've never had trouble with in any of my other shoes including Asics, Puma, Adidas, Inov8, Saucony, Mizuno.

3. These shoes are obviously not very breathable so your feet will get super hot which may contribute to more blisters. They feel fine in cooler temps but not so much on warmer weather trails.

4. The color options are just hideous. Barney purple, blinding orange, grasshoper green and a glossy grey with hospital looking blue trim. I'm all for crazy colors but these options just not appealing to me but of course that's a personal thing and you get over it. My goal now is to get these so dirty you can't tell what color they are anymore ha ha.

5. You will have to wear hiking socks with these. Other types of fitness socks bunch up for some reason. I usually wear hiking or walking sock but when I didn't I wanted to take theses shoes off and toss them off a cliff because of the sock drama!

Would I buy these again? Absolutely not. These shoes are marketed as offering extra cushion and maximum comfort but that is exactly what they don't do. They were hard to break in, hard to wear and just not what I expected for $120.

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